May 25, 2019

Goznym malware: cybercriminal network dismantled in international operation

An unprecedented, international law enforcement operation has dismantled a complex, globally operating and organised cybercrime network. The criminal network used GozNym malware in an attempt to steal an estimated $100 million from more than 41 000 victims, primarily businesses and their financial institutions. A criminal Indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, USA charges ten members of the GozNym criminal network with conspiracy to commit the following: infecting victims’ computers with GozNym malware designed to capture victims’ online banking login credentials; using the captured login credentials to fraudulently gain unauthorised access to victims’ online bank accounts; stealing money…

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Icelandic chairmanship of Arctic Council

Minister Guðlaugur Thórdarson, Iceland and Minister Timo Soini, Finland. Picture by Government of Iceland. Tuesday, May 7 2019, Rovaniemi, Republic of Finland: Iceland shall lead the Arctic Council for two years after Minister of Foreign Affairs Guðlaugur Thór Thórdarson, received the gavel from his Finnish counterpart Timo Soini at the Rovaniemi Ministerial Meeting held in Finland. The latter function marked the finale of Finland’s two-year chairmanship of the Council. Minister Thórdarson presented Iceland’s chairmanship programme titled “Together Towards a Sustainable Arctic”, highlighting three priority areas: i)the Arctic Marine Environment, ii) climate and green energy solutions as well as iii) people and communities of the…

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US delegation to the March of the Living

1-2 May 2019, Kraków, Republic of Poland: US State Department despatched its very first ambassadorial delegation to the “March of the Living”, an annual Holocaust commemoration in Poland.  The Trump administration sent a sizeable delegation, led by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who was joined by: Ambassador to Georgette Mosbacher [to Poland]; Ambassador Richard Grenell [to Germany]; Ambassador Callista Gingrich [to the Holy See]; Ambassador Ed McMullen [to Switzerland and Liechtenstein]; Ambassador Duke Buchan [to Spain]; Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism Elan Carr as well as the Chairman of the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad Paul Packer. The March of the Living is a procession from the infamous gate…

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Iran accuses the U.S. of disregarding human rights

By Guido Lanfranchi. Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi has reacted to a recent statement by his American counterpart, claiming that in the U.S.’ view, positions on human rights which previously served as a political tool have now turned into a commodity. In response to the statements of his American counterpart, Mousavi said on Wednesday that it’s now well-known to the whole world that the U.S. regime neither believes in human rights nor is ethically qualified and has the legitimacy to meddle in such issues and take the gesture of a human rights advocate. “The shameful silence of the…

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The U.S. designates Iran’s IRGC as a terrorist organization

By Guido Lanfranchi. In an unprecedented move, the United States designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. Such move is part of the “maximum pressure campaign” applied by the U.S. administration on Iran and aimed at curbing Iranian influence in the Middle East. Over the last two decades, the United States has designated approximately seventy organizations as FTO, that is, Foreign Terrorist Organizations. While FTO designations are nothing new, the most recent designation has a distinctive feature: it targets Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of a sovereign state’s military. Expectedly, the move has been strongly…

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Bangladesh Contributes $15,000 to Future OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 25 April 2019 — The Government of Bangladesh has contributed $15,000 to a special Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Trust Fund to support the project to upgrade the current OPCW Laboratory and Equipment Store. This project will result in the construction of a new facility, the OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology (“ChemTech Centre”). The contribution was formalised by the exchange of letters between OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Sheikh Mohammed Belal. Ambassador Belal remarked: “Bangladesh is happy to be a part of this…

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Boubou Cissé PM of Mali

Monday, 22 April 2019, Bamako, Republic of Mali: Economist Dr Boubou Cissé was appointed to be Prime Minister of Mali following a decree by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta having as a mission to set up a “government of amplitude”. Hitherto Dr Cissé had served as Minister of Economy and Finance.  Former Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga resigned on 18 April following demonstrations in Mali calling for accountability after the terrorist attack in the country’s heart that left approximately 160 casualties. For further information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boubou_Cisse Office of the Prime Minister of Mali: http://www.primature.gov.ml

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OPCW Director-General Visits Belgium

H.E. Fernando Arias at the Menin Gate. THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 24 April 2019 — The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, attended the Ceremony of the Last Post in Ieper, and visited the demilitarisation plant at Poelkapelle, Belgium, from 22-23 April. In Ieper, the Director-General participated in the ceremony at the Menin Gate Memorial on 22 April and paid his respects to the victims of chemical weapons attacks during the World War I as part of the Ceremony of the Last Post. Standing under the arch of the Hall of…

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5th term for Benjamin Netanyahu

Friday, 12 April 2019, State of Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won the Israeli national election, securing a record fifth term in office despite running neck-and-neck with his challenger General (ret) Benny Gantz. The closely contested race was widely seen in Israel as a referendum on Netanyahu’s character and record in the face of corruption allegations. In power since 2009, and having led the country for a total 13 years including his first term in the 1990s, Netanyahu had been struggling for his political survival. Netanyahu highlighted his close relationship vis-à-vis President Donald Trump, who delighted Israelis and angered Palestinians by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s…

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The U.S. warns the EU about 5G security issues

By Guido Lanfranchi. With upcoming 5G networks and the “internet of things” revolution, issues of network security will be increasingly important. For this reason, the United States is pushing for a risk-based framework, which would include serious controls on the supply chain of 5G infrastructure. “5G will be truly transformational”, as it will “really start touching all part of our lives”, including very sensitive issues such as telemedicine, autonomous transportation, and automated manufacturing. This is the basic premise laid out by Mr. Robert Strayer, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cyber and International Communications and Information Policy at the U.S. State Department’s…

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